After yesterdays blog post I continued to look for the missing falcon until at 21:50, still no joy. I left the devoted tiercel still incubating, now getting on for 9 hours without the falcon and retired for the night.
I really didn’t know what to expect to see when I arrived at the watch point this morning. At first glance it appeared that eyrie had been deserted and our single egg was still there unattended and looking lonelier than ever. Fortunately I raised my binoculars for a double take and to my relief I spotted just in the far right corner of my field of view, and almost completely obscured by a dog rose bush the back of a hunched over peregrine falcon. It is considered more than bad form for a naturalist to anthropomorphize the nature world. However Ive been flirting with it all season on the blog, without too much compliant, so I’m not going to stop now.
So which bird was stood on the corner of the nest ledge facing the gorge face, was it the returned falcon contemplating the error of her ways in the naughty corner or was it the tiercel unable to face the world and the task of raising the egg without his mate. A quick stretch of a wing and a talon scratch on his head, I could see it was the tiercel. He had stayed the night, I cant be sure if he had been incubating all night but he was no more than a foot from the egg and where id last left him now just over 12 hours before.
As for the falcon, I wont tell you what I called her when I text messaged the concerned volunteers with an update this morning. Ill just say it rhymes with a rather wicked character in L.Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and I’m glad no visitors were around this morning to hear me as I said it out loud when I finally spotted her perched on one of her favorite rather well camouflaged haunts on the gorge face this morning.
Although glad she had returned and somewhat annoyed from her prolonged absence, I cant neglect the fact the no one was incubating the egg. Had they give up hope and where simply hanging around this part of the gorge out of territorial instinct? I didn’t have to wait for long. After 15 more anxious minutes it was the tiercel who jumped down from the rock on which he had been preening and almost landed right on top of the egg, much to my relief he didn’t squash it and began incubating. I had to wait another 2 hours to see if the falcon was going to continue to take her part in the incubation process. After a further hour away, she returned and starting incubating at 12:34, although the tiercel has done a few short spells the falcon has done the majority of the incubating this afternoon. Although I feel I should mention, not without her intermittent protesting calls for the male to return. Taste, medicine spring to mind.
All’s well that ends well, lets hope that this time next week I’m gleefully blogging away to you about a welcome new arrival instead of concerning departures.
I think ill sleep a little easier tonight.
Adam Murphy -Peregrine Ranger